I remember a few years ago when the idea of 'raw' food really started trending. Did any of you ever pick up a copy of this? I had one on my bookshelf.
Never made a single thing out of it.
As much as I'd love to fit into my jeans from senior year, have glowing skin for another three decades and a memory like a vault, I'm just not willing to say goodbye to all 'bad' foods. The thought of pizza not making an appearance in my life each week...well no words can describe the horrors.
And along with pizza, cake plays a rather large role in my culinary life. Heck, I even figured out a way to weave its presence into a business magazine. Genius, right?
Carrot cake is one of my favorites. The small British tea shop across the street from my office makes one of the best I've ever had. And my recipe, found in this Southern Living cookbook, isn't so shabby either.
So why go and mess with a good thing by going 'raw' with it?
Because this cake is pretty remarkable.
No sugar, no flour, no vegetable oil, eggs or butter.
The ingredients are simple.
Carrots, dates, almonds, cashews, a splash of maple syrup.
I literally crave this cake. Its my go-to quick breakfast (oatmeal is on hiatus until the first frost). And its my late night dessert.
While snapping a few pictures last night at sundown, Otto showed up in the kitchen. Never before has he walked over to something I'm photographing and started digging in. But that's exactly what he did. My first instinct was to jump in..."Otto, mommy is photographing this. You need to wait, please." But I didn't. Instead I smiled as he loudly stated "Cake! It's my birthday!" (not true...rarely what he says lives in reality).
So this four year old boy who had never eaten my raw carrot cake before and who has the least desire of any child I've ever known to venture out beyond peanut butter and jelly on white bread, dug into this piece of cake like it was a ten mile high chocolate birthday cake.
"This is awesome."
And then he danced a little jig.
I thought so too. Because if I can get my PB&J phene to eat dates, cashews and carrots without any trickery or hiding of ingredients involved, I'm game. (scroll below for recipe)
Beyond food, life is beautiful here. And a beautiful mess...depending on the day and the situation at hand.
We'll attend a funeral this week for a family member that left before any of us were ready to say goodbye. That's tough. And the boys head back to school tomorrow (6th and 3rd grade) and that's hard on this mama who isn't ready to send them off.
But we are well~ carving out time for often breakfasts on the back porch, celebrating with popcorn-making for finally getting the pilot light in our 1920's stove to work in the kitchen, taking long hikes near our house and mowing the lawn between conference calls at the office.
Raw Carrot Cake with Cashew Frosting
2 cups raw cashews, soaked for 30 minutes in hot water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1/3 cup maple syrup (or sweetener of choice)
Warm water, as needed
2 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
1 1/2 cups almond meal
2 cup medjool dates, seeds removed
1/2 cup organic shredded or desiccated coconut (optional)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tsp salt (optional…helps bring out flavors so I like to add it)
1. To make the frosting, blend all ingredients in your blender (high speed preferably) until smooth, adding in some water as needed. *
2. To make the cake, chop the carrots into small pieces and then throw into your food processor with the other cake ingredients and pulse until it's all in really small pieces and sticks together. *
3. To assemble, put half of the cake mix into the bottom of a lined spring-form cake pan and press firmly with a spoon. Then spread on about 1/3 of the frosting. Then place into the freezer until the frosting is hard.
4. Then put the rest of the cake mix into the pan and press firmly with your fingers or the bottom of a glass.
5. The put the remainder of the frosting into the cake pan and place back into the freezer until the frosting is hard.
6. Either leave in the freezer or store in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, take out of the freezer and let stand at room temperature until a knife goes through smoothly. If storing in the fridge, slice and enjoy immediately.
* I’ve made this in my food processor as well. It will work, just won’t have quite the same smooth consistency. Set aside.
*If you don’t have a food processor, you could shred the carrots and dice the dates and mix by hand.